By: Hans Themistode
Daniel Dubois could barely see once he walked back to the locker room following his bout against Joe Joyce. The heavyweight prospect suffered a badly damaged left orbital bone along with several other ailments. But while the physical aches and pains bothered him for weeks on end, the mental anguish was even worst.
For the British native, everything was clicking for him. He picked up notable wins against the likes of Kevin Johnson as well as Nathan Gorman and had the backing of just about everyone as boxing’s next big star. Even WBC/Ring magazine titlist Tyson Fury believed the heavy-hitting contender was going to rule the heavyweight division in just a few short years.
Yet, following a tenth round defeat at the hands of Joyce just a few months ago, many have questioned whether or not he’ll be able to pick up the pieces of his shattered confidence. After staying away from social media and interviewers all together since his defeat, Dubois finally looked himself in the mirror and faced questions such as whether or not he’ll take the defeat as a learning experience or will he tuck his tail between his legs and run?
Apparently, Dubois has chosen the former.
“It was a devastating setback for me,” said Dubois during a self-recorded video. “It was a tough year for everyone with the spread of COVID-19 but I refuse to let this set me back. I will come back and get back to my boxing.”
During the clip which lasted only two minutes, Dubois was shown working on his physique in an empty park area. The physical part of Dubois’s game has never been questioned but the manner in which he lost to Joyce has brought about a seemingly never-ending wave of criticism.
Although Dubois was on the winning end in much of his exchanges with Joyce, he found the persistent jab of his man both an irritant and detrimental. With three rounds left in their showdown, Dubois was winning on the judge’s scorecards. But while he was doing just enough to eke out the rounds, Joyce was causing serious damage to the left eye of Dubois.
What appeared to be a fairly light landed jab from Joyce in the tenth round, actually proved to be the straw that broke the camels back for Dubois. The 23-year-old took the blow, walked a few feet back and as Joyce made his way towards him to follow up, Dubois took a knee. From there, he was counted out. In the mind of many, Dubois was viewed as taking the cowardly way out. The vast majority of the boxing world wanted to see the British product either go out on his shield or fight when his back was against the wall.
Although he hasn’t responded to his critics, Dubois has heard them loud and clear. With what many believed to be a career-ending injury, he was recently given the green light to return to the ring in April.
In terms of who could be next for the quiet, yet immensely motivated heavyweight doesn’t seem to matter. Whether it’s a journeymen level fighter or one of the best in the world, Dubois plans on wrecking the division in a major way.
“I will iron out all of my imperfections and trust me, I will be back with a vengeance.”
By: Oliver McManus
Daniel Dubois vs Joe Joyce promised to be a thrilling encounter between two heavyweights convinced they should be the promotional top-dog. The narrative had been built around 23-year-old Daniel Dubois for a coming of age moment. That line pushed Joe Joyce to the outside as he was a 3/1 underdog on fight night. One of Britain’s best amateur fighters a 3/1 outsider… it defied logic.
And so it proved to be. The 35-year-old from Putney out-fought his younger opponent and pestered him with a stubborn jab right up until Dubois’ eye imploded. Dubois took a knee and showed no interest in getting up. The fight had been sucked out of him by a performance that earned the respect Joyce already deserved.
Dubois emerges with a fractured orbital bone and nerve damage with no telling how long he’ll be out of the ring for. Joyce comes away with the British, Commonwealth and European heavyweight titles and is all set to cash in at the top of the division. How bleak the juxtaposition of the sport can be.
WBO for Joyce?
All the talk in the immediate aftermath was of a fight between Joyce and, old foe, Oleksandr Usyk for a vacant WBO world title. Joyce will usurp Dubois as the #2 with the WBO in their next rankings but one small detail missing from that equation is that the WBO title isn’t currently vacant. Anthony Joshua, who holds the WBA, IBF and of course, the aforementioned WBO belt as well. Yet, the expectation is that should a mammoth fight with Tyson Fury come to fruition, he’ll have to vacate the title. It’s an ambitious plan and a good fight that would see former WSB rivals slugging it out for the jewel in the crown of their already distinguished careers; it becoming reality does rely on variables out of their control swinging in their favour.
Whyte whilst we wait?
A showdown with Dillian Whyte would certainly be a fight worth watching and could see the winner in good stead with both the WBO and the WBC (assuming Whyte prevails in his rematch with Alexander Povetkin). Queensbury Promotions have been very public about their desire to make matches with fighters from the Matchroom Boxing roster and if Joshua and Fury don’t fancy it anytime soon, this would be the next best thing. It’s probably not the sort of fight you’d put Joyce in, though, if you are waiting for that WBO situation to sort itself out.
Play the Yoka card…
Well, how about it? Tony Yoka is allegedly keen for the fight – emphasis on allegedly – but after his recent performance against Christian Hammer I can’t see why he’d fancy his chances. Joyce is widely believed to have done enough to earn the Gold medal in Rio in 2016 but was forced to settle for silver when the two met. This would be a chance to settle that score in the professional ranks. Yoka’s career has been blighted by a 12-month suspension for missed anti-doping tests and a fight against Joyce could help sway that narrative. It’s a fight that makes sense stylistically for Joyce and would be won to drum the interest and, perhaps, help really sell himself to the British public and boxing fans.
What next for Dubois?
That appears to depend on how long he’s required to sit out of the ring as he recovers from a fractured orbital bone and nerve damage around his left eye. He’s still 23 and there’s no need to rush a return when you consider all the time still on his side. I’d back him still to be a world champion in the next three, four years and I think his next 18 months of fighting needs to be those crucial learning fights – “middle ground fights”, if you will – and that should stand him in good stead.
It will be interesting to see at what level they put him back at – you could do worse than an eight-round shake about with someone like Kamil Sokolowski though that probably wouldn’t go down too well with the paying public.
Amateur foes revisited?
Peter Kadiru might well be a name you hear a fair bit of with the German amateur youth star now 10-0 as a professional. The 23-year-old is a former WBC Youth titlist – as was Dubois – and current German national champion but also holds a win over Dubois dating back to their amateur days. It would be a fight against two prospects highly regarded in their own country and with that little bit of tension that Dubois could sink his teeth into. Is it realistic? Probably not but I’d love it to happen.
The Book of Gorman
A rematch with Nathan Gorman has been touted in the days since Dubois’s loss but where’s the value in that fight? Dubois showed in their first fight that he could comfortably beat the Nantwich boxer and it would be a hard sell against someone who he’s already stopped in five rounds.
That brings us, then, to an aging breed of European gatekeepers that could bring Dubois valuable rounds and prompt variety within his performances. There do seem to be fewer of these archetypal gatekeepers around nowadays so the options aren’t as plentiful as they once might have been but a name from Joe Joyce’s CV springs out: Iago Kiladze. A 34 year old Georgian now based in America who has been in with Efe Ajagba, Michael Hunter, Joyce and Adam Kownacki in his last five fights. He’s tough but can be stopped and that could be a confidence-boosting win to get Dubois back into the swing of things.
Give him three or four of those fights – increasing in difficulty with each step – against the likes of Bogdan Dinu, Andriy Rudenko and Alexander Dimitrenko and then drop back in against guys with “name-value”.
Perhaps this result, rather oddly, is the best outcome it could have been. Were Joyce to lose you’d suggest he was on the older side to make a second run of things, whereas Dubois can regroup, regather and go again.
By: Hans Themistode
Heavyweight contender Joe Joyce heavily criticized Daniel Dubois following his 10th round stoppage win over the young prospect this past weekend.
“He definitely quit,” said Joyce immediately after his victory. “But he saved his eye. His eye was obviously busted up and I hear he broke a socket but he’s young so he can come again.”
Dubois, 23, suffered much more than a broken eye socket following their 10 round slugfest. According to multiple reports, the British native sustained nerve damage to his left eye as well.
Before Joyce (12-0, 11 KOs) managed to pick up the stoppage win, Dubois was seemingly having his way with him. The formerly undefeated fighter rocked Joyce on several occasions and seemed to be on his way to closing the show. Despite the bombs that landed however, Joyce kept moving forward while landing what appeared to be an extraneous jab.
As the rounds ticked by, Joyce’s jab became more pertinent as the left eye of Dubois began to shut. In the tenth, Joyce landed it again. The reaction from Dubois this time around however, was different from the rest as he took several steps back before ultimately taking a knee. Dubois remained in his kneeled position until he was ultimately counted out.
Joyce, a 4-1 underdog on the night was all smiles following the win. With their rivalry officially over, the newly crowned EBU European, Commonwealth and BBBoC British heavyweight champion broke down how he rendered Dubois’s tactics ineffective on the night while also taking the time to rub his win in the faces of those who weren’t backing him to get the win.
“I felt the jab was landing well so I kept at it. Took his jab away, used my footwork, stayed away from his dangerous shots and followed the game plan. I’m very pleased and happy that I got him out of there. I proved all of the doubters wrong.”
With the biggest win of his professional career under his belt, Joyce is already thinking about his next move. At the age of 35, Joyce doesn’t want to face off against below-average competition. Currently, unified heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua is in possession of three of the four major titles in the division. However, there is growing speculation that he will soon drop his WBO title in order to pursue a mega showdown with fellow champion Anthony Joshua.
Although Joyce is more than happy to be sporting his European titles, he’s hoping that his promoter in Frank Warren will be able to rid him of those lesser belts in exchange for a major one.
“Hopefully the Warren’s can sort out that WBO title should Joshua vacate it. I just can’t wait to become world champion and hopefully unite the belts. I want to fight all of these top class heavyweights. There’s a small circle of top class heavyweights and I believe I belong with them.”
Daniel Dubois (15-1, 14 KOs) was always viewed as the next young great fighter from the United Kingdom. That may still be the case, but for now, 35-year-old Joe Joyce’s time is now.
The 2016 Olympic silver medalist was viewed as a prohibited underdog in his contest against Dubois, and in the early stages, it was easy to see why. Dubois dictated the pace early on and evaded the sluggish shots that were coming in his direction.
Joyce (12-0, 11 KOs) on the other hand, outside of his jab, couldn’t get his offense going. Although Joyce could only land his set up shot, it was all he needed as the left eye of Dubois began to swell profusely.
With each passing round, the steam coming from the end of Dubois’s punches began dissipating. The 23-year-old began holding more and his punches came far and few between. For Joyce, he began taking advantage. The 35-year-old still couldn’t put together any of his combinations but the jab continued to be a problem for Dubois.
After watching the undefeated prospect’s eye go from swollen to completely shut, Joyce continued to target it. In the 10th round, Joyce saw his emphasis on attacking Dubois’s left eye pay dividends. With one short jab in the round, Dubois staggered back. As Joyce pressed forward, Dubois took a knee to stop the onslaught.
The referee in charge began his countdown as Dubois attempted to wipe at his injured eye. At the very last second, the young 23 year old attempted to jump back to his feet. However, the referee waved off the contest, handing him the first loss of his career.
Following the win, Joyce was asked who he had his eye’s on next. Without hesitation, Joyce answered with only one word.
By: Oliver McManus
Daniel Dubois vs Joe Joyce has all the makings of a classic in the heavyweight division. Two British fighters putting their unbeaten records on the line with four belts – European, Commonwealth, British and WBC Silver – awaiting the winner. This is a grudge match in the contemporary sense of the word. There is a rivalry, don’t be mistaken but the protagonists are far too well-mannered to let that cross the line into ‘bad blood.’
Dubois, now 23, has been the prized jewel in the Queensbury Promotions crown since inking a professional contract in 2017. Promoter Frank Warren has hailed him as the future of the heavyweight division – of British boxing – and an undoubted world champion in the making.
Joe Joyce, 12 years the older man, hasn’t had that stability and love-in from the British boxing fraternity. He’s gone from Hayemaker Promotions to Al Haymon and PBC to Queensbury. He’s been trained by Ismael Salas, Abel Sanchez, Adam Booth, Steve Broughton and back to Ismael Salas. For someone with such strong amateur pedigree – Olympic Silver, World and European Bronze and Commonwealth Gold medals – he’s far from the unassuming darling of the public you could argue he deserves to be.
That goes out of the window on Saturday night with the winner taking supremacy and, in doing so, one giant step towards a world title tilt in 2021.
Part of the puzzle as to who will win lies with just how similar the pair are: both are front-footed, aggressive fighters with defensive frailties that are yet to be exploited. Kevin Johnson showed Dubois to be one-dimensional in their contest but that was quickly rectified and normal, explosive, order restore in his very next contest. Agains Richard Lartey, the fringe contender managed to lure Dubois into a firefight and that could be Joyce’s best tactic. Joyce, meanwhile, looked ropey against Bryant Jennings – despite two wide scorecards – with the American landing on a number of occasions against a sluggish Joyce.
If Daniel Dubois is to win the fight, the key will lie in his jab and, more importantly, the variants of it. Many comparisons have been made about that most fundamental punch but Dubois sells it to his opponent every time. Against the aforementioned Lartey, it was his firm right hand that was used to stop any incoming punches. Whilst against Razvan Cojanu, we saw a sort of holding shot to set up attacks to the body and against Nathan Gorman, it was that soft lead jab just tempting Gorman into leaving a gap for Dubois to exploit. All three got suckered in and they were all stopped in devastating fashion.
For Joyce to find success, he needs to look at the volume of his punches and start upping his attack when he’s on the front foot. There was an odd moment against Joe Hanks where the American was hurt and on the ropes like a sitting duck: Joyce took a step back into the centre of the ring and waited patiently instead of setting about finding the finish. The Putney man is a huge puncher, yet sluggish, but once he lands, he needs to follow that up to keep the pressure on.
This is a fantastic fight: one with so many similarities in terms of style in and out of the ring that really is impossible to confidently predict which way this is going to go. You’d put money on the winner going on to be world champion, though.
By: Hans Themistode
Whether he’s preparing for a contest or simply hanging out, heavyweight prospect Daniel Dubois can always be found smiling. Yet, with his all-British showdown with fellow prospect Joe Joyce only a few days away, the 23-year-old Dubois is all business.
“I’m done playing games,” said Dubois to IFL TV during a recent interview. “I’m ready to cause him some serious pain.”
Joyce, a 2016 Olympic silver medalist, has taken the same approach for all of his fights whether it’s in the pro’s or the unpaid ranks, which is to come forward and dictate the pace from the opening bell. While Joyce (11-0, 10 KOs) has been relentless with the sort of pressure that he has placed on his opponents, Dubois won’t allow his 35-year-old opponent to push him back all night.
Instead, he intends on fighting fire with fire.
“I’m going to go out there and meet him. I’m going to need everything that I got in the arsenal. All the weapons have been sharpened so I need to go out there and use them all. It’s not just boxing but will power and whatever he hits me with, hit him back twice as hard.”
The trash talk between both has been on display from the moment their contest has been announced. In short, neither man has been fond of one another. While most have a difficult time picking a winner, Dubois (15-0, 14 KOs) is confident that not only will he stop Joyce in his tracks in impressive fashion, but also that a win over his fellow Brit will launch his career into a completely different stratosphere.
“It would be a massive win. Onwards and upwards to glory and to the big fights. It would be moving really to the big world title fights. This is the biggest fight of my career easily and I one hundred percent believe that I will be victorious and it will be a devastating finish.”
Ricardo Snijders (18-2, 8 KOs) was given no respect during the build up of his heavyweight matchup with Daniel Dubois. He ultimately did himself no favors as he was easily pummeled and stopped by the British prospect.
Before Snijders could settle himself into the matchup, Dubois (15-0, 14 KOs) landed several monster shots that saw his night come to a quick and painful end. Next up for Dubois is an all-British showdown with Joe Joyce.
Sam Maxwell vs Joe Hughes
Sam Maxwell (14-0, 11 KOs) may walked away this afternoon with his undefeated record intact, but it was by far the most difficult contest of his career, as Joe Hughes (17-6-1, 7 KOs) gave the British contender all he could handle.
Much of their super lightweight contest was played on even terms until Maxwell managed to dig deep and outwork his man during the latter rounds. His extra push was rewarded with a razor close decision on the cards.
David Adeleye vs Phil Williams
It was another quick day at the office for David Adeleye (3-0, 3 KOs). The heavyweight prospect knocked his opponent, Phil Williams (3-26-1, 1 KO), into next week in the opening act Daniel Dubois vs Snijders at the BT Sport Studio in Stratford, London.